Author Topic: Is this an appropriate crankset?  (Read 9256 times)

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Offline TGYoung

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« on: October 10, 2006, 11:25:08 am »
Hi all:

I've taken the plunge and ordered a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame that I plan to build up in the coming months.  As far as cranksets go, I'm leaning towards something along the line of a 46/36/24 or 46/36/26, preferably using one of the newer splined bottom brackets available.

One that I've seen that has these specs is the Shimano FC-M530.  Anybody have anything pro or con to say about this particular crankset?

Are there other cranksets that meet the above requirements that I might also consider?

Sugino cranksets seem to be popular and are widely available, but it looks like they've stuck with the square-taper bottom brackets.  Does Sugino now make cranks that use one of the splined bottom brackets now available?

TIA.

Tom Young


Offline DaveB

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 11:42:34 am »
There is nothing wrong or deficient about square taper bottom brackets so I wouldn't let that sway my choice of cranks.  Square tapers have a long and honorable history of excellent service and are still readily available.  

Shimano's Octalink is a proprietary design that Shimano wouldn't license for quite a while so the ISIS splined interface was designed as a substitute.  In both cases, the splined interfaces seem to be going out of style as the external bearing bottom brackets are the current "hot set-up".  

 


Offline RussellSeaton

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2006, 01:32:46 pm »
I'm a big fan of low gears.  So the biggest inner chainring I woud ever consider on a loaded tour would be 24 teeth.  This is the smallest size you can get with common "road" triples using the 74mm bolt circle diameter for the inner ring.  "Mountain" bike triples with 5 bolt spiders use a 58mm bcd for the inner ring and can accept as low as a 20 tooth inner ring.  Usually they come with gearing like 44-32-22.  Replace the 22 with a 20.

As for bottom brackets, the vast, vast majority of bicycle stuff sold today is based upon fads and style, etc.  I think you will fit right in.

But for others, if by chance you are in the middle of nowhere, or in rural Europe, and have bottom bracket-crank problems, it will be fairly easy to get a replacement square taper bottom bracket since they have been around for decades and decades.  All shops will have them in various lengths laying around.  Or they can just take one off a bike sitting in the shop.  Not so with the new stylish cranks and bottom bracket bearing things.  Small, non high end shops would not even have the special tools needed to remove the bearing cups.  Something to consider.


Offline TGYoung

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 02:12:46 pm »
Personal comments really aren't appropriate.  

I believe the splined bottom brackets represent superior technology, with the ISIS being better in that regard than the Octalink.  Since my grandest plans for touring at this point might be a cross-country (USA) tour I'm not too worried about being disabled by bottom bracket problems.

I'm not dead-set against square-taper bottom brackets - my 35+ year old beater bike still uses one - it's just a preference at this point.


Offline TheDaltonBoys

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2006, 06:09:06 pm »
My apologies up front but I'll probably be "muddying" the waters. I only have plans to go to a Bicycle Mechanics course after I retire, and I know only enough to get me in trouble regarding bike mechanics, but no where in the two replies did I read anything that stuck out as personal. The two authors have always struck me to be expert level mechanics but, again, I don't know all that much....sorry if I misread something but all I could derive from the responses were honest, technical and even helpful data.  Enjoy the voyage...Mark of the Dalton Boys


Offline Mentor58

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2006, 06:48:02 pm »
Setting up drive train / gearing is, imho, second only to choice in saddles, in causing more arguments about equipment.  I am fond of the new Hollowtech II, with the exterior bearings.  My reasoning is that since the crank / axle is one piece there you eliminate the possiblity of the crank working loose, creaking, etc.  That said, all of them, square taper, ISIS, OctaLink will work, but I just think that the external BB is the best of breed.  

You haven't said what kind of touring you plan on doing, I know that I like and appreciate LOW gears more than very tall gears that aren't really practical for me.  I also like to have fairly small changes between gears in the back, it just make it easier to find that 'sweet spot'.  My combinations are not orthodox, but they work for me.  

My best advice, go to sheldonbrown.com/gears, and play with different setups till you find the one that seems to work.  My LHT is set up with a 44x32x22 Crank and a 13-30 cluster. That gives me a 90 inch gear at the top, and a sub 20 at the very bottom.  Furthermore I get a nice tight spacing between gears, that helps find a nice comfortable one, no matter what the terrain.  That 90 inch gear is good for 25+ MPH at 90 RPM, and I've never had a situation where that has really become an issue. :)

I've also got a Bianchi Volpe that's geared almost the same, MTB crank with a 12-27 rear.  Great for light touring, and again nice and tight.

I do have a treking crank, the 761 48x36x26, it started off on my LHT, along with an 11-32 cluster, but got changed for the current combination.  It's now on my otherwise fully Ultegra equipped road bike, along with the ever popular 12-27 rear.  Works great for me in that environment.

My advice, get the gearing combination that will work for your touring style, fitness level, terrain and then work backwards to find the right components.  

Hope this helps....

Steve W


Offline RussellSeaton

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2006, 12:04:34 pm »
"Since my grandest plans for touring at this point might be a cross-country (USA) tour I'm not too worried about being disabled by bottom bracket problems."

Check the Adventure Cycling maps for the availability of bike shops.  And the size of towns along the route.  I bet you will find very few bike shops and very few sizable towns.  Thus very few of them will have the tools or parts available for fixing/replacing external bearing bottom brackets.  You can of course call the manufacturer or a large mail order shop and have FedEx overnight the parts and tools to you for a fee.  Whereas with old time square taper bottom brackets and cranksets, every bike shop will have them and the tools for working on them.

Shimano, SRAM/Tru-Vativ, FSA, RaceFace, etc. all make external bearing bottom brackets and cranks.  Do they all use the same tools for installing the bearing cups?  Do they all use the same tools for attaching the left crankarm?  Do they all use the same tools for adjusting preload?  Do you think all or most bike shops have the tools necessary for your model of external bearing cranksets?  Something to consider when you are not within a phone call from home.


Offline TGYoung

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2006, 12:41:12 pm »
Maybe I'm being too sensitive but that "I think you will fit right in" comment (referring to bicycle stuff being sold on the basis of fad and style) struck the wrong note with me.  It seems to me thats an ad hominem argument; strike that entire paragraph and Ive got not problems.

You want to tell me that millions of miles have been ridden on square-taper bottom brackets and suggest splined bottom brackets arent worth the additional cost?  Fine, thats a judgment I can assess.

You want to suggest that splined bottom brackets might not be available in the hinterlands of Lower Slabovia?  Good input; if I ever wander that way I might just swap out the splined BB for a square-taper one.

But dont call me a mindless slave to fashion and marketing hype.  Thats not helpful.  Im not a weight-weenie and I try to make reasonable decisions about equipment.  Based on what Ive read, splined bottom brackets are superior technology to square-taper.  I have considerable experience with both flavors of bottom bracket and, based on the sort of trekking Im thinking I may end doing, splined bottom brackets just tend to make more sense.

And I'm not quite sure where the issue of external bearing BB's got attached to my post, since I never brought that up.  


Offline Mentor58

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2006, 02:14:57 pm »
I don't claim to be an expert on everything, but I have to throw a flag on this one.....
Quote

Check the Adventure Cycling maps for the availability of bike shops.  And the size of towns along the route.  I bet you will find very few bike shops and very few sizable towns.  Thus very few of them will have the tools or parts available for fixing/replacing external bearing bottom brackets.  You can of course call the manufacturer or a large mail order shop and have FedEx overnight the parts and tools to you for a fee.  Whereas with old time square taper bottom brackets and cranksets, every bike shop will have them and the tools for working on them.

If you're far from any bike shop with a square taper, I guess you always carry a crank extractor (if needed), a long breaker bar and a socket to mount the crank with.  Lets face it, cranks don't fall into the "Field replaceable unit" category in my opinion.  Lets not forget the spanners to adjust the BB while we are at it.

Since Shimano's road line starts using the HollowTech II cranks at the 105 level, and the MTB line has them all the way down to the LX level of components I can't believe that there are too many bike shops that haven't seen and worked on them.

If one were hyper about it, one could always get the tool from Nashbar and toss it into the tool bag.  It's not big or heavy and would eliminate any possible problems if you have to rebuild your BB in Lost Buffalo Droppings ND.  (yes, I made that up for effect) Truth is, you only need the tool to install the external BB, the crank mounts (at least in the Shimano version) with two allen bolts that clamp the left one in place, and a small plastic disk to spin between your fingers to set the preload.  
Quote

The Nashbar Bottom Bracket Tool is designed to install/remove next generation bottom brackets (Shimano Hollowtech II, Race Face X-type, FSA MegaExo, and Truvativ Giga X-pipe). Hard steel ensures a lifetime of use while the comfort coated handle ensures a solid grip. Teeth designed to securely engage the notches of the bottom bracket cups and a separate hand tool to interlock the 8 internal splines of the crank arm adjustment cap for fine tuning.

The square taper has a long history, it's better than a cottered crank, but it's no longer the only option out there, and an external BB design simply has fewer problems associated with it.  You don't have to worry about a crank bolt working loose and the crank getting hogged out by the axle, less likely to creak (as long as the BB has been properly faced and tapped).  I'd say go with whatever fills your need, and as long as it's something from a major supplier I'd not sweat.  (now if you were considering the internally geared Schrumpf Cranks, then I'd want to take a second thought about it  :) )

Steve W


Offline DaveB

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2006, 12:14:51 am »
And I'm not quite sure where the issue of external bearing BB's got attached to my post, since I never brought that up.

No, I did. I raised the point because you said you were particularly considering splined bottom bracket such as Octalink and ISIS.  I wanted to note that they seem to have been a fairly short-lived designs having already become pass√© with the ascendancy of the external bearing type.  

As far as reliability goes, Shimano Octalink bbs have a very good reputation (with the sole exception of one version of the Dura Ace which used unsealed bearings and traded light weight and low drag for a high level of required maintenance).  My personal experience with Ultegra level Octalinks has been excellent.  

ISIS bottom brackets have been much more problematic.  Some models seem to be ok but there were serious reliability with others.  It may be an inherently superior concept but the execution has often left a lot to be desired.          



Offline RussellSeaton

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2006, 12:22:11 pm »
This is from your original post:

"preferably using one of the newer splined bottom brackets available."

"Sugino cranksets seem to be popular and are widely available, but it looks like they've stuck with the square-taper bottom brackets.  Does Sugino now make cranks that use one of the splined bottom brackets now available?"

You stated right up front that new spined bottom brackets were superior and square taper cranks were old and inferior.  You were not asking a question, you were just stating your opinion.  You provided no facts or basis for your judgment.  So it seems to me your opinion is based on fad and style.  So that is why I stated you would fit right in with most bike part buyers concerned with fad and style.

I did misread your original post and introduced the concept of the even newer fad and style in cranks, the two piece external bearing things.  You do know that ISIS and Octalink are now the old fad and style?  All of the crank and bottom bracket makers are no longer even making the splined things and have gone completely to external bottom bracket cranks.  For some reason, fad? style? function?, the splined cranks did not last too long.  So now exterenal bottom bracket cranks are all the rage.  Do you really want a splined crank on your bike that all of the crank makers recently abandoned after a decade of production?  Does that tell you something about the splined bottom brackets?


Offline RussellSeaton

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2006, 12:36:00 pm »
"If you're far from any bike shop with a square taper, I guess you always carry a crank extractor (if needed), a long breaker bar and a socket to mount the crank with."

Yes.  When I am on a loaded tour I carry the necessary tools. There are people who tour loaded who do not carry the right tools?  My ancient Sugino crank arm extractor has one end as the 14 mm socket to install/loosen the crank arm bolts.  No separate socket or peanut butter wrench necessary.  A 14 or 16 mm wrench is needed to turn the crank arm extractor.  I carry the bottom bracket tool, BBT2, for the newer cartridge style bottom brackets.  I do not carry the big Crescent wrench for the bottom bracket tool.  I will rely on some farmer or house somewhere along the road to have one of these ubiquitous tools.  When I used a loose ball, cup and cone bottom bracket I carried the lockring hook tool and the pin spanner.  And when I used a threaded headset, I carried the 32mm wrench along for that too.  Fortunately Park makes some of these bottom bracket and headset wrenches with dual heads that served both the headset and bottom bracket.

I would definitely advise carrying the external bearing tool with you.  I'm not as confident bike shops you run across in the hinterlands will have the correct tools or parts or knowledge to work on newer stuff.


Offline TGYoung

Is this an appropriate crankset?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2006, 06:43:30 pm »
Well, youre at least partially correct.  In my first post I expressed a mild preference for splined BBs, though I didnt say why.  In fact, the only reason I mentioned square taper BBs at all was because Id read a review that mentioned a Sugino splined crank and I just couldnt find it.

To say I stated right up front that new spined bottom brackets were superior and square taper cranks were old and inferior speaks more to your state of mind that anything that could be explicitly extracted from the post.  As far as you knew, I get hives if I touch a square-taper BB. :)

But what I didnt do was lash out at square taper advocates as old-fashioned, head in the sand, retro-grouch curmudgeons who wouldnt know a better technology if it bit em on the ass.  That would be an ad hominem argument, an attack on the advocate, and short of verifiable facts.  Kind of like youll fit right in with the folks who are suckers for the latest marketing ploy and chase the newest fad without the remotest understand of its suitability.  You get the point?

But I think at this time this aspect of the conversation regarding the a question I asked about a particular crank is a Complete and Utter Waste of Time, so Ill say no more.